September 08, 2005

iTunes Phone and iTunes Nano Introduced

Apple has finally unveiled its iTunes-enabled phone. "You've probably heard about this," quipped Steve Jobs at an invitation-only unveiling in San Francisco. The device, manufactured by Motorola and named ROKR, will be carried by Cingular Wireless in the US.

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Additionally, various other mobile operators will carry the device outside of America, including British carriers O2, Orange, Virgin Mobile, and BT Mobile. "The Motorola ROKR represents the ultimate convergence of mobile communications and music," said Ed Zander, chairman and CEO of Motorola. "Fusing iTunes with your always-with-you mobile phone, we're revolutionizing the way the world experiences mobile self-expression and entertainment."

The device will allow consumers to port up to 100 tracks from their PCs. The phone will come with stereo speakers, headphones, and dedicated music keys, and will automatically pause the music during a call. Rollouts are expected later this month in the UK, France, Canada, Italy, and Hong Kong. Releases are then expected in the fourth quarter in Australia, Singapore, Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and other markets. A long list of superstars will kick off an advertising campaign this week, including Madonna, whose entire catalog is now available on iTunes.

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While most of the attention remains focused on the recently-unveiled iPod phone, Apple has also introduced another addition to its iPod line. The nano, a tiny player that is thinner than a #2 pencil, will now take the prize as the smallest iPod available. But even though it is about half the size of many competing players, the device delivers an impressive 4GB storage capacity. The price tag on the device will be $249, and a 2GB version will also be available for $199. iPod nano is a full-featured iPod in an impossibly small size, and its going to change the rules for the entire portable music market, said Steve Jobs. The nano weighs about 1.5 ounces.

The nano is sleek, light, and absolutely tiny. The device comes in either white or black, offering yet another twist on the famous player design. That will help to entice more buyers, especially ahead of the holidays. Now, Apple is hoping to widen its considerable lead in the space, offering little breathing room for competitors like Samsung, Creative, and Sony. Meanwhile, the iPod lineup appears to be getting a bit crowded, with the nano flanked by both the screenless shuffle and the mini. That could cause some internal cannibalization for Apple, with the nano delivering a comparable storage capacity to the mini in a smaller size.

Posted by keefner at September 8, 2005 02:47 PM